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Resources to Help Kids Thrive Newsletter

Depression and Irritability

November 2, 2021

The mood we identify most with depression is sadness, feeling down. But in some depressed children and teenagers the mood is more irritable — quick to anger — than sad. And other kids with depression alternate between being sad and being irritable.

This week on childmind.org we explore what this irritable mood associated with depression looks like. Given that teenagers are famously quick to anger anyway, how is this different from typical teenage testiness? And how does it compare to the severe tantrums characteristic of disruptive mood dysregulation disorder? Finally, we round up information about treatment for depression, which includes both medication and therapy and can be very effective.

Related Resources

Depression and Irritability

How irritability and anger can be signs of depression in children and teenagers.


Teens and Anger

How parents can model healthy coping skills.


What Are the Kinds of Depression?

They all involve being sad or irritable, but the symptoms occur in different patterns.


DMDD: Extreme Tantrums and Irritability

Kids with this disorder act out because they can't manage big emotions.


Treatment for Depression

What parents need to know about therapy, medication and finding a good clinician.


What to Do if You Think Your Teenager is Depressed

Start by listening without judgment, not trying to 'fix' them.